-Issue is likely to reach its crescendo on Aug. 19, when the State Government is expected to file its affidavit as directed by the Madras High Court.
The 19-km Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Road is of great significance in view of the development of a container terminal with a capacity of four million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers per annum, the port authority has said in an affidavit before Madras High Court.Filing a counter on Aug. 14 to a writ petition filed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seeking the quashing of the order of the Chief Engineer, PWD, Water Resource Organisation, Chennai Region (Government of Tamil Nadu), of Jan. 28, Mr. Sunilkumar Madabhavi, Chief Engineer, ChPT, submitted before the court that of the total traffic handled by Chennai Port for the last five years, 70 to 80 per cent cargo movement was by road, of which 60 to 70 per cent road-bound cargo was towards the south of the port (towards Maduravoyal due to its proximity to national highways).
“Due to the congestion on city roads and due to commencement of Chennai Metro rail construction work, the southern gate of the port was open only for a limited period during night hours for cargo traffic. Hence, completion of this project is vital for cargo movement to and from Chennai Port and the proposed dry port at Mappedu, without hindering city road traffic,” he submitted.
The project is not only beneficial for the development of Chennai Port but would also help local traffic to use the corridor continuously as there are entry and exit ramps in the corridor for local traffic to reach the Madras High Court, Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital and Central and Egmore railway stations and other major hospitals located en route the elevated road without passing through congested arterial roads inside the city, he said in the affidavit.
It all started in March this year, when the Madras High Court ordered notice to the State Government authorities and the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) following a plea in the court by NHAI praying for a direction to the authorities to coordinate and take all steps to proceed with the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor project and complete the same within a time frame.
According to NHAI, the elevated project is the first of its kind in India with a length of 19 km. The NHAI, after obtaining necessary clearances, concurrences, no objection certificates and approvals had commenced the project in September 2010. It is to be completed by September 2013.
The estimated travel time from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal at a speed of 60 kmph would be 15 to 20 minutes, whereas the existing roads take more than two hours.
The alignment was finalised after taking into account all aspects of geometry, optimum utilisation of Cooum boundary and minimum acquisition of private land. The project, along the Cooum River, was mainly designed based on the requirements of the State to suit not only the port but also that of the general public.
However, after a change in the Government in May 2011, there has been no cooperation from the various departments of the State Government with regard to land acquisition, rehabilitation and re-settlement of the project-affected families for reasons best known to them.
The authorities concerned were not evincing any interest on this project and became averse to the same. By the Jan. 28 order, the PWD had urged the NHAI to obtain revised CRZ clearance and to carry out certain remedial measures such as drudging of 2 metres beyond the outer column and construction of retaining wall for a height of 3 to 5 metres in the extended portion.
The whole issue is likely to reach its crescendo on Aug. 19, when the State Government is expected to file its affidavit as directed by the Madras High Court.